I Miss the QE2, Damnit
by Bill KetzerWhich venue do you miss the most? Let us know.
You know, I see a number of my buds were compelled to toss in their proverbial and sundry two cents worth of anecdotal praise here, and I must admit, my liver started twitching upon reading the whimsical rantings of Sir Albert "Flatten you with my Explorer, goddammit" Von Schaf. But I would tend to list the poo-stained halls of QE2 at the top of my list as most missed. I mean, c'mon. Charlene would book ANYONE. She wasn't scared. The Mentors (one of the most frightening events of my life was watching the late El Duce hoist a log-splitter into the air and wobble with that big, dead belly toward the crowd)? Alice Donut? The Genitorturers? The Mighty Mighty Bosstones? King Missile? The Figgs? Alan Ginsberg? C'mon, man. Marilyn Manson. Anne Waldman. Holy Cow. The Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Dronez. Babes in Toyland, who made Courtney Love's Hole look like a hymen repair kit. I can still see poor Spike at the control knobs, irate and underpaid.
The QE2 made the best freakin' Cherry Bombs ever. There was this girl at the bar, Tragedy's girlfriend, she wore men's briefs under her ripped jeans, and she would simply take 10 jars of Maraschino cherries and add, like, two liters of Bacardi's 151 Rum. She found me amusing, but not Jim Romano. He always tried to catch me stealing tips, which he eventually did. Anyway, the last time I ever closed the place with Cherry Bombs I woke up with barbed wire lacerations on both arms and a Gulf War vet in my bed. He was a good friend, but I have no recollection of meeting him that night nor attempting to pilfer the old tank at the New Scotland Avenue Armory. One other night I argued with a pump-tittied stripper in the ladies room for just over 45-minutes about the ludicrousness of boob-jobs. She licked my eye. I think her name was Jeanine, and we had quite the productive argument until my head got all stapled together when all the auxiliary chemicals kicked in and I believe she eventually kicked me in the knee. The Q was ripe for such gymnastics. And speaking of gymnastics, I somehow always wound up there on dance nights, too. I have no explanation for this. I can't dance, ask anyone. Hornberger would be humping my leg and I would hoist him into the air in an airplane spin and Licia would just kind of gyrate next to us as if we weren't kicking people in the teeth, dislocating shoulders and acting what I suspect was considered by most as very irresponsible and quite gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
The venue was also where I saw one of the most horrific beatings ever doled out to anyone, ever. A filthy, aged and possibly schizophrenic skinhead wandered in one night. My girlfriend's band, Sadie Hawkins, had just done a sound check and he started right in with, "Eyyyyy babies! Plant that pussy on my beard! Hahahahaha, you ain't scared are ya?" And so on. As fate would have it, he stayed as long as he could, spitting, throwing bottles, little balls of paper, pennies, etc., until someone finally - beneath the roar of Sadie Hawkins - punched him in the face. Then, one by one, each member of the audience took a turn at the guy. Soon, young Hessians were even practicing WWF top-rope elbow smashes on the guy, leaping off the top fence directly on to his brain. Right into his mind, they all went. It was brutal. Literally beaten into pulp, into art.
They never cleaned their beer lines, so it was hilarious when they tried to up the ante with Newcastle Brown Ale on the tap. It tasted like Budweiser. The Sam Adams tasted like Budweiser. The toilet tasted like Budweiser. And local artists would consume inconceivable amounts of this tepid American.... err... Pilsner, and donate strange and inappropriate works of art to the clubs fetid, cavernous spaces. I miss it the most, though, when I ride by it on my BMX (I know, I know a 34- year old guy on a BMX, shut up) and see the empty, perhaps misguided nightspot it has become. The place used to be crawling with life. That's the chance you take I guess.
I'm working on two small hours of sleep and my ability to articulate has gone the way of the do-do, I think that about sums it up. Thanks.